There are many fitness bands and watches around that companies need to do something different to stand apart from the rest. Rarely do we see this with most just trackers with some insight into the metrics tracked. Whoop Strap 3.0 takes all of this to a whole new level with deep insight into the metrics obtained and how to best use them to get the best out of yourself. Whoop Strap 3.0 is not just a wearable but more specifically a recovery wearable.
When an athlete, or any gym or exercise junkie, trains they wear down their body. As such recovery is required before training again otherwise over-training will result. Over-training results in an athlete going backwards in their results but also being more susceptible to injury and illness as the immune system cannot keep up.
With this in mind it is no wonder that you will see a heap of professional and high-level athletes wearing them while being interviewed — just recently I’ve seen them on the wrist of at least two Australian gold medallists, two from the USA along with other high level professional athletes such as Patrick Mahomes, LeBron James, Steph Curry and Rory McIlroy. Whoop has also just signed a contract with the NFL to provide Whoop straps and tracking to all NFL players. For these athletes, their whole life is about performance — they are not “influencers” who wear stuff because they are paid to do so. They care about their performances — without their performance they stand to lose their jobs.
Whoop measures a lot of metrics and uses the results to determine strain, recovery and how to best optimise your performances. The metrics it measures are sleep amount and quality, workout intensity, recovery from said workouts, heart rate and heart rate variability and workout strain. It does this using the LEDs on the underside of the wearable and photoplethysmography, a simple and low-cost optical technique that can be used to detect blood volume changes in the microvascular bed of tissue and is often used non-invasively to make measurements at the skin surface.
Whoop also differs from other wearables in that it does not have a display at all. There are no notifications, no clock, no stopwatch or any such “feature”. All information and recommendations appear in the app on your phone. The band itself is a stretchy knit elastic band with an attached sensor bank. The elastic band can be changed to a different one if you prefer to mix it up — there are also “bicep bands” and “Impact Sleeve” that can hold the sensor block higher up the arm for those who prefer to not have something so close to the wrist. I preferred the Impact Sleeve, although the XL was a tad tight on the guns, because it allowed me to still use my wrist wraps and wrist straps when training chest and back.
The workout strain and sleep quality that Whoop provides is then used to provide personal information suited for you and you alone. There are no super basic step goals or any of that more general stuff but works on your goals and provides recovery requirements for you to be able to produce your best performance. Of course, to do all of this it needs to figure you out and determine what you need etc. It takes two weeks to get this first baseline and after this you receive more personalised information and recovery recommendations. After four weeks you will start seeing even more information appear in your app.
The information received at two weeks and then again at four weeks is quite detailed and can be difficult to interpret. Whoop though offers a lot of hints and triggers to help you figure it out. Not only that you may well get sick of all the emails they send you with ways to not only get the best out of your Whoop band but also the best out of yourself. For the serious athlete, or even just someone wanting to get the best out of themselves, the information that whoop provides to you in these hint, tips, tricks, and explanations can enhance your workouts and overall performances.
The app’s sleep coach will let you know just how much sleep you require to recover from one day and peak for the next. As you would expect you need a lot more sleep to hit a peak and instead of a generic 8 hours of sleep the figure of sleep suggestions are based on your sleep schedule, training load and recovery from previous days. For example, I’ve had a slack weekend since my workout at 10am Saturday and it’s now telling me I need just over five hours of sleep tonight to peak/perform or get by tomorrow. I don’t think it considers the mental exhaustion I feel after a day at work but it seems spot on for the physical nature.
The main function of the Whoop band is to help you tailor your workout intensity to how your body is feeling. Far too many of us train too hard when we are not fully rested and end up over training and over taxing our bodies — this in turn prevents the body from recovering, taxes the immune system and can thus lead to injury and illness. The best way to recover is sleep and Whoop does a good job of not just tracking that but also other stressing factors and applying them to you and your body by way of recommendations on how much sleep we require for a certain intensity workout. Of course, you can use it as the opposite and base your workouts on what Whoop says rather than basing your recovery on what is required.
The battery life is exceptional, but you would expect that given the lack of a display on it. There are lights on the side of the band which will give you an approximate battery percentage of the band but the exact info is shown within the app. The best thing about the battery life is that you do not have to remove it to charge it. Whoop include a battery pack which you just slide over the band and leave on for an hour or so which then charges the band. The battery pack itself is charged separately while it is not charging the band. The band is thus waterproof considering the lack of ports but the battery pack is not.
So how easy is it to setup?
Set up was relatively simple but I wholly recommend you watch the setup videos on the Whoop website to explain all the various uses of the device. Once you get your head around just what you can do just sit back and let it start measuring your stress and your recovery.
You will need to start and stop workouts in the app when performing them — although you can add a workout later on in time and it will just apply the measurements taken at that time to the workout.
Who is it for???
This is not a wearable for the faint hearted but there are a lot of people who are either high level athletes or are addicted to their fitness regime. For people such as this who want to improve their performances and get the most out of themselves and don’t need nor want the other functionality other wearables provide such as a clock, notifications etc then this is for you.
Whoop Strap 3.0 sits by itself in its functionality measuring stress and recovery and applying that to you and your body makes it unique. It can help you get the most out of your workout and either tailor that workout to your current recovery level or help you get enough recovery so you can perform at a certain level.
If you are a serious athlete who is in danger of over training or want high level performance at particular times, I can highly recommend this to you. It does not come cheap though.
The Whoop Strap 3.0 is included as part of Whoop memberships starting at $44 per month (six month minimum) up to $432 for an 18month membership ($24 per month). The straps come is a wide range of colours with even more accessories including the Impact sleeve I tested for $44. How much is your peak performance worth?